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Vedin, Linda, 2017. Grazing increases albedo of savanna grasslands. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

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Abstract

Earlier studies done in the north have shown that grazing increases surface albedo by
reducing shrub height and abundance, and thus have the potential to cool down the local
climate. But what about effect of grazing in other systems? In African savanna grasslands
some grazers are able to transform grass swards into a lawn-like state by regular grazing.
The grazing excludes tall-grass colonizers and the spread of lawn grasses is thus promoted
by grazing. A characteristic of savanna ecosystems is the tree-grass coexistence. Field
experiments have indicated that in the absence of herbivory and fire, woody plant
encroachment in savannas can be high, but grazing lawns seem to be resistant to shrub
invasion. I investigate how the creation of grazing lawns affects the albedo of savanna
grasslands. By comparing albedo between grazing lawns, bunch grass and woody shrubs. I
also quantify the extent of grazing lawns across the. I show that grazing lawns have a
significantly higher albedo than both bunch grass and grass encroached by woody plants
and that albedo increased during the growing season. Albedo decreased when the amount of
bare soil increased, and albedo increased with more grass. The assessment of grazing lawn
distribution in the park showed that lawns in some parts cover 20% of the transect area.
This study shows that grazing lawns, and by extension grazers, could affect the local
climate on African savannas, through a higher albedo.

Main title:Grazing increases albedo of savanna grasslands
Authors:Vedin, Linda
Supervisor:Cromsigt, Joris and te Beest, Mariska and Olofsson, Johan
Examiner:Singh, Navinder
Series:Examensarbete i ämnet biologi / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2017:3
Year of Publication:2017
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:albedo, grazing, savanna grassland, grazing lawn, shrub, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-9376
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-9376
Subjects:Plant ecology
Language:English
Deposited On:13 Jun 2018 13:10
Metadata Last Modified:13 Jun 2018 13:10

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